Since most of us are spending a lot of time at home for the foreseeable future, now might be the perfect time to ramp up your self-care regimen and make sure that you re-enter the world as the best version of you that you can be. Part of that look? A healthy, white smile.
If you’ve found yourself considering RADIUS products, chances are that you value natural and organic methods of maintaining a healthy smile. However, we all want to look our best and, when it comes to teeth, that usually means the whiter, the better. So, how do you sidestep the chemical-heavy strips, gels, and mouthwashes and still get a red-carpet worthy smile?
There are natural teeth whitening methods that work!
Ones that don’t have the added detrimental health effects or cause hyper-sensitive gums for hours after use only to result in barely noticeable half-a-shade whiter teeth.
First, let’s talk about why teeth yellow. Knowing how it happens helps us to both treat and prevent it. There are three ways we can yellow our teeth:
1) Superficial stains. These are stains from foods and drinks, plaque build-up from improper dental hygiene, and enamel erosion that makes the yellow dentin layer underneath the enamel more visible.
2) Intrinsic stains: These are stains on the dentin itself which are caused by certain medications, some prescription mouthwashes, and even using too much fluoride in your oral care products.
3) The Unavoidable Factors: Most frustratingly, sometimes yellow teeth can be a result of unavoidable factors such as genetics, aging, or illness. Not much you can do to prevent those, but better health in general will lead to a whiter smile for a longer period of time.
Whatever the cause, there are natural remedies to making sure your smile is the best it can possibly be. Here are a few remedies we suggest…and a few we recommend you avoid. Let’s start with the common methods we don’t recommend:
Natural Teeth Whitening Methods we say NO to:
Baking Soda: It’s true that the abrasive baking soda granules scrub away surface stains making your teeth instantly whiter, but do you know what else baking soda scrubs away? Enamel. Although you could get away with using this method once a week, we know that enamel will naturally deteriorate throughout our lifetime, so why help it along if we don’t need to? We recommend leaving the baking soda to the baking.
Activated Charcoal: Charcoal toothpaste, likewise, can remove surface stains but is also abrasive on enamel. Plus, its long-term health effects are inconclusive. If you’re going to try natural toothpaste, we recommend our RADIUS Organic Toothpaste, which comes in flavors like Dragonfruit and Coconut Banana and will leave a much more palatable taste in your mouth than charcoal.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Although Apple Cider Vinegar has long been touted as a folk remedy for teeth whitening and there is some evidence to support this claim, like other acidic foods, there is substantial evidence that apple cider vinegar erodes tooth enamel. Another side effect? If you’re taking certain medications, for example diabetes medications, taking apple cider vinegar regularly alongside it can have detrimental health ramifications.
Hydrogen Peroxide: We know that hydrogen peroxide has long been used to treat everything from scrapes to bad breath, but did you know that in the process of rinsing with hydrogen peroxide it can also deplete dentin? As a refresher, dentin is the second layer of the tooth underneath the enamel that supports the enamel and covers the blood vessels and nerves. Depleted dentin can result in more brittle enamel and leave you more susceptible to tooth sensitivity and decay.
Here’s a few things we do recommend:
Natural Teeth Whitening we say YES to:
- Ditching the food culprits! …or maybe cutting back a bit. Unfortunately, some of our favorite foods and beverages like coffee, citric fruits, sugary desserts, or wine can not only stain our teeth but contribute to enamel erosion. An unfortunate one-two punch toward yellower teeth. While we’re not saying you have to cut out your morning shot of caffeine or glass of red wine at book club altogether, it might be worth considering choosing your dietary vices wisely. Not for you? Maybe consider carrying some paper straws for your drinks or making a point to brush your teeth shortly after eating or drinking.
- Saying Cheese! ….or milk? Consuming calcium-rich foods strengthens your enamel. While enamel does not contain living cells and therefore cannot regenerate during your lifetime, strengthening enamel will prevent erosion and more enamel means less of the yellow dentin layer underneath will show through. In other words, you want the last slice of pizza? We say go for it!
- Going Raw: No, you don’t need to adopt a full-on raw food diet BUT adding a few more raw fruits and veggies that require a bit more chewing can help scrape off the plaque build-up on your teeth. Word to the wise though: while fruits like pineapple and strawberries are often cited for contributing to whiter teeth, keep in mind that the acid in these fruits can also wear on your enamel. Maybe stick to the carrots instead.
- Swishing Some Coconut Oil! An Indian folk remedy called ‘oil-pulling’ where you swish oil around in your mouth has been shown to kill harmful bacteria causing gingivitis and plaque-build up. Although traditional methods call for sunflower or sesame seed oil, many people opt for coconut not just for the more-pleasant flavor but because it contains lauric acid, which not only kills bacteria but can lessen gum inflammation….which might be a relief if you’ve just tried out those whitening strips.
- BEST OF ALL - The Tried and the True: It’s as simple as this. The best way to a whiter smile? Good oral hygiene practices! As an added benefit, keeping up with oral hygiene improves your health and makes you less susceptible to the pathogens currently going around. We know, we know, you’ve heard it all before, but how often do you really follow the dentist-recommended practices? To reiterate, here are some best practices:
- Brush Your Teeth for the Full Two Minutes: Twice a day. Yes, it seems like a looong time particularly when you’re rushing out the door in the morning for that big meeting or exhausted after your toddler’s particularly colorful tantrums that day, but it’s necessary. So, find ways to make it more enjoyable. Throw on your favorite podcast or rock out to an oldie but goodie and get to brushing! Want to make your brush a little less painful? Try our soft-bristle brush with the replaceable head!
- Floss at least once a day!: No getting around this one, it prevents plaque build-up and harmful bacteria that contribute to yellowing. Nervous about getting a little ‘pink in the sink’ when you floss? RADIUS offers a softer, organic floss made with carnauba wax to glide smoothly between teeth. As a bonus, it’s actually coated with coconut oil so you get the benefits of oil pulling in your floss! It’s just about as luxurious as you can get for your gums.
- Rinse….but maybe not when you think. According to the National Health Service, you shouldn't rinse your mouth with water or mouthwash right after brushing as it could wash out some of the concentrated fluoride in the toothpaste. It’s better to wait at least 30 minutes before rinsing, or opt to rinse right after a big meal instead.
- Visit your dentist every six months. That regular teeth cleaning to get in the spaces in our teeth we just can’t seem to get to? It really helps. It rids the teeth of plaque build-up and makes sure that are dental health is the best it can be.
We know it’s frustrating to be cooped up in your home for days on end, but we believe you can make it a good opportunity to spend a little time to take care of yourself and your smile. Plus, what better distraction to make us feel a little better during a time when we’re all struggling?
Keep in mind that while we all might want a smile worthy of the cover of Vanity Fair, remember that healthy is beautiful. Take care of your teeth and that will come through in your smile. We at RADIUS are here to help with everything from consciously engineered toothbrushes to organic toothpaste for the whole family.